Just as Nelson Mandela is a freedom hero for black people, Egypt's first democratically elected president, Mohammed Morsi is a hero for the Muslims.
Robbeneiland is an island off the shore of Cape Town. It is a prison in which awful things happened to inmates for 200 years. The cells are smaller than 2 square meters, there is a square for stone-breaking and isolation rooms... Here, thousands of prisoners lost their minds, committed suicide from the unbearable working conditions, died of diseases or were shot.
Mandela was imprisoned there for 27 years. One respects the struggle he gave for his country and people, while walking at his cell's door and in the courtyard where he broke stones.
Making Morsi a freedom hero
After Morsi was arrested, I always thought that he should be a freedom hero like Mandela. While the administrators of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt were talking about what to do for Morsi, this is what I kept saying.
The first elected president of Egypt, who took a nonviolent stance, should be a freedom hero just like Mandela. We need to work and strive for this.
The #FreeMorsi campaign was started by my group of journalist friends in Turkey to this end, but it couldn't spread to the entire world.
Neither the Muslim Brotherhood had such power nor did we have effective worldwide media.
That time I wondered about the campaign made for Mandela. Actually what I wondered the most was why the world remained silent for the 27 years he was in prison and started a campaign only in the mid-1980s.
I sought the answer to this question in South Africa. I found what I had in mind.
Diamonds and gold are the reason for everything
The apartheid regime that imprisoned Mandela and turned the country into a racist hell was the work of the Netherlands, originally white people (Afrikaans).
Actually the Dutch were fighting the British on who would exploit South Africa.
There were a lot of wars between them.
Be careful here. The reason for the exploitation wars was the gold and diamond mines discovered between 1860 and 1880.
The control of these mines mostly belonged to the British. Giving the administration of these mines to Britons for 50 years, the Dutch took power in 1948 and stopped British intervention.
The most racist and merciless regime of the world governed South Africa, where the British were also living, with an iron fist.
Mandela and his friends (there were a lot of Muslims among them) struggled very hard for their country but could not succeed. Robbeneiland was full of those who struggled. But the world remained silent.
Why did Mandela refuse the Atatürk Award?
In the mid-'80s, Mandela suddenly managed to draw the attention of the world media. Worldwide campaigns were started for him.
Awards were given in his absence. Mandela also sent delegates everywhere to talk about his rightful case while he was in prison.
A delegation came to Turkey as well, but the Süleyman Demirel government refused them at the airport and sent them back.
There were two countries in the world that did not support Mandela: Turkey and Israel.
The primary reason why Mandela did not accept the Atatürk award was Turkey's support for the racist regime and his rejection.
The second reason is the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) diaspora's propaganda here.
Eventually political change took place in South Africa. A lot of people lost their lives and Mandela had to be released by the president of the country, De Klerk (1990), because he was under pressure from all corners of the world and sanctions were applied. Mandela was elected president in the 1994 elections and the fate of the country changed.
Why did the British actively support Mandela?
I wonder why the UK played an active role in Mandela's struggle, because they were not people who admired the struggle for independence in other countries.
I found the answer to the question here:
Using the media, diplomacy and capital power, the British turned Mandela into a freedom hero within a matter of five to six years.
But Mandela had been fighting for his country and independence for 30 years, and the British had yet to make a single move.
The UK's right to run the diamond and gold mines was almost over. A year after Mandela became the president, the administration of the mines was given to the British again in 1995.
There are a lot of people who claimed that while he was in prison, Mandela reached an agreement with the British and got their support for his struggle.
Halim Gençoğlu, an academic from Cape Town University, who helped me become very familiar with the relationship there said: "Mandela's struggle and heroism were real, but the support of the British for independence was fake and for their benefit. Well there may be those who criticize Mandela for this cooperation, but this agreement brought independence to his country and diamond and gold for the British.”
Why can't a freedom hero rise from the Muslim world?
None of the leaders in the Muslim world who fought for independence, liberty and justice have been seen as a freedom hero by the West to date.
Aliya, Arafat, Malcom X, Ghannouchi, Morsi... The bad thing is that Muslim countries could not manage to turn these people into worldwide heroes - they even prevented some of them. Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood do not have gold or diamonds to give the British or the Europeans. The Muslim world does not have a Hollywood to make films and documentaries for Morsi, either.
Since we don't have a media followed by everyone in the world, we cannot say that Morsi is a real freedom hero. That is why Morsi cannot be a Mandela.